PIX/ASA 7.x and above : Mail Server Access on Inside Network Configuration Example

Posted on 12:15 AM by Bharathvn


This sample configuration demonstrates how to set up the PIX Security Appliance for access to a mail server located on the inside network.

Note: In order to learn more on how to configure for Microsoft Exchange, refer to the Cisco Secure PIX Firewall documentation. Choose your software version, then go to the configuration guide and read the chapter on how to configure for Microsoft Exchange.



There are no specific requirements for this document.

Components Used

The information in this document is based on these software and hardware versions:

  • PIX Security Appliance 535

  • PIX Firewall software release 7.1(1)

  • Cisco 2500 Series Routers

The information in this document was created from the devices in a specific lab environment. All of the devices used in this document started with a cleared (default) configuration. If your network is live, make sure that you understand the potential impact of any command.


Refer to the Cisco Technical Tips Conventions for more information on document conventions.

Related Products

This document can also be used with the Cisco 5500 Series Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) with Software Version 7.x and later.


In this section, you are presented with the information to configure the features described in this document.

Note: Use the Command Lookup Tool ( registered customers only) to obtain more information on the commands used in this section.

Network Diagram

This document uses this network setup:



This document uses these configurations:

PIX Firewall

PIX Version 7.1(1)
hostname pixfirewall
enable password 8Ry2YjIyt7RRXU24 encrypted
interface Ethernet0
no nameif
no security-level
no ip address
interface Ethernet1
no nameif
no security-level
no ip address
interface Ethernet2
no nameif
no security-level
no ip address

!--- Define the IP address for the inside interface.

interface Ethernet3
nameif inside
security-level 100
ip address

!--- Define the IP address for the outside interface.

interface Ethernet4
nameif outside
security-level 0
ip address
interface Ethernet5
no nameif
no security-level
no ip address
passwd 2KFQnbNIdI.2KYOU encrypted
ftp mode passive

!--- Create an access list that permits Simple
!--- Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) traffic from anywhere
!--- to the host at (our server). The name of this list is
!--- smtp. Add additional lines to this access list as required.
!--- Note: There is one and only one access list allowed per
!--- interface per direction (for example, inbound on the outside interface).
!--- Because of limitation, any additional lines that need placement in
!--- the access list need to be specified here. If the server
!--- in question is not SMTP, replace the occurrences of SMTP with
!--- www, DNS, POP3, or whatever else is required.

access-list smtp extended permit tcp any host eq smtp

pager lines 24
mtu inside 1500
mtu outside 1500
no failover
no asdm history enable
arp timeout 14400

!--- Specify that any traffic that originates inside from the
!--- 192.168.2.x network NATs (PAT) to if
!--- such traffic passes through the outside interface.

global (outside) 1
nat (inside) 1

!--- Define a static translation between on the inside and
!--- on the outside. These are the addresses to be used by
!--- the server located inside the PIX Firewall.

static (inside,outside) netmask

!--- Apply the access list named smtp inbound on the outside interface.

access-group smtp in interface outside

!--- Instruct the PIX to hand any traffic destined for 192.168.x.x
!--- to the router at

route inside 1

!--- Set the default route to
!--- The PIX assumes that this address is a router address.

route outside 1

timeout xlate 3:00:00
timeout conn 1:00:00 half-closed 0:10:00 udp 0:02:00 icmp 0:00:02
timeout sunrpc 0:10:00 h323 0:05:00 h225 1:00:00 mgcp 0:05:00
timeout mgcp-pat 0:05:00 sip 0:30:00 sip_media 0:02:00
timeout uauth 0:05:00 absolute
no snmp-server location
no snmp-server contact
snmp-server enable traps snmp authentication linkup linkdown coldstart
telnet timeout 5
ssh timeout 5
console timeout 0
class-map inspection_default
match default-inspection-traffic

!--- SMTP/ESMTP is inspected as "inspect esmtp" is included in the map.

policy-map global_policy
class inspection_default
inspect dns maximum-length 512
inspect ftp
inspect h323 h225
inspect h323 ras
inspect netbios
inspect rsh
inspect rtsp
inspect skinny
inspect esmtp
inspect sqlnet
inspect sunrpc
inspect tftp
inspect sip
inspect xdmcp

!--- SMTP/ESMTP is inspected as "inspect esmtp" is included in the map.

service-policy global_policy global
: end

Router B

Current configuration:
version 12.0
service timestamps debug uptime
service timestamps log uptime
no service password-encryption
hostname 2522-R5
enable secret 5 $1$N0F3$XE2aJhJlCbLWYloDwNvcV.
ip subnet-zero
interface Ethernet0

!--- Sets the IP address of the Ethernet interface to

ip address
interface Serial0

!--- Instructs the serial interface to use
!--- the address of the Ethernet interface when the need arises.

ip unnumbered ethernet 0
interface Serial1
no ip address
no ip directed-broadcast
ip classless

!--- Instructs the router to send all traffic
!--- destined for 209.164.3.x to

ip route

!--- Instructs the router to send
!--- all other remote traffic out serial 0.

ip route serial 0
line con 0
transport input none
line aux 0
autoselect during-login
line vty 0 4
exec-timeout 5 0
password ww

Note: The Router A configuration is not added. You only have to give the IP addresses on the interfaces and set the default gateway to, which is the inside interface of the PIX Firewall.

ESMTP TLS Configuration

Note: If you use Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption for e-mail communication then the ESMTP inspection feature (enabled by default) in the PIX drops the packets. In order to allow the e-mails with TLS enabled, disable the ESMTP inspection feature as this output shows.

pix(config)#policy-map global_policy
pix(config-pmap)#class inspection_default
pix(config-pmap-c)#no inspect esmtp

Regulate Email Flows

If the volume of emails comes in too fast for the internal server, you can use the static command to throttle down the PIX to allow a limited number of emails (connections) at a time.

This is an example :

static (inside,outside) netmask 60 0

This static command example is taken from the PIX Configuration. This command limits the maximum number of connections to 60 for emails.

The maximum number of simultaneous TCP connections that the local IP hosts are to allow is 0, the default, which means unlimited connections. Idle connections are closed after the time specified by the timeout conn command.


There is currently no verification procedure available for this configuration.


The Output Interpreter Tool ( registered customers only) (OIT) supports certain show commands. Use the OIT to view an analysis of show command output.

Note: Refer to Important Information on Debug Commands before you use debug commands.

The logging console debugging command directs messages to the PIX console. If connectivity to the mail server is a problem, examine the console debug messages to locate the IP addresses of the sending and receiving stations in order to determine the problem.